Friday, December 24, 2010

For those who aren't home with us

During the four years I spent in the Navy, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend every Christmas and every Thanksgiving home with my family. However, for hundreds of thousands of troops, sailors, and airmen, they aren't able to be home with their families.

During Christmas, please take a moment to appreciate your family. Appreciate that they home with you and not in a foreign land protecting our country. Give your spouse and kids extra hugs and kisses, hug your parents and if you still have Grandparents, sit with them and listen to the stories they tell. I miss my grandparents dearly and wish I would have sat and listened more to them. When I was deployed, I wished I would have told my loved ones how much I adored them and cared for them.

And so, this Christmas, I will be overly sappy, quick to forgive, and slow to anger. For I have everything I need. Family. I have a special surprise for my loved ones this year. I will record it and share it after Christmas for everyone to see.

I wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas, a Happy safe, and prosperous new year! Lets head into 2011 Ready to Rock and Roll!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Yesterday I began my journey of running. Yeah, that kind of torture that you do when you walk fast. I'm fairly certain that during the Spanish Inquisition, they made people run as a form of torture. Anyways, talking about torture isn't the purpose today. Endurance is.

I've never been an endurance kind of runner. Sprinter, yes. I've got a collection of medals and ribbons from school when I sprinted. That's another reason why I was one helluva Goalie in soccer. However, I never had endurance to run more than a few miles without feeling like I was going to die. I've realized that endurance spans across more than just physical boundaries too. I would like to think I have good mental and emotional endurance. I've always been the shoulder for someone to lean on or cry on when they needed it.

A couple days ago, I watched the series finale of Little People Big World on TLC. I've watched this show since it started. I was amazed to see this man (Matt Roloff) who is literally half my size, take on the world and become a successful businessman. He took a ranch with nothing on it to an attraction in Oregon. I was equally amazed to see his wife Amy fearlessly take on the world and take hurdles in stride. I remember an episode where she was grocery shopping and the item she needed was on the top shelf. She didn't go ask for help... She CLIMBED the racks to get what she wanted. I remember thinking to myself "That woman is awesome!" I have looked up to her ever since.

So yesterday, I knew I wasn't going to be able to run a marathon, but I knew I would be able to run some kind of distance. well, within less than a quarter mile, I was certain that I was on the verge of death. I was about to send up the smoke signal, call 911, confirm my last will and testament, and die on the side of the road. But then, I realized that's now what the Roloffs would do. I kept pushing on. I didn't run a mile in 4 minutes... It took me 14 minutes to run 1.1 miles. but hey, it's a start.

And then last night, I was watching The Biggest Loser (yes, I know, I watch too much TV. I'm working on it!) I saw a woman who was once 260+lbs run a marathon in less than 5 hours. I watched two men both who were oncer over 300 lbs run it. So now, I know I can do it! Today, one and a half miles down. Yes, it will be a long struggle to get back into shape and prepare for a half marathon and even a full marathon. But I will do it.

so stay tuned, I plan on writing with more frequency as I run. I will probably start taking pictures of the places that I run and maybe take some videos while I'm out there. I will most likely be a heaping ball of sweat, but hey, it will be honest. Yes, I will expand my endurance to 26.2 miles and see if I manage not to die along the way!

And if there are any runners out there with advice, PLEASE, share it! I am gunna need all the help I can get!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veterans day by a Veteran

Ten years ago, When someone would say "Veteran" I thought of some grey haired man telling war stories. I never would have imagined myself being a veteran. It's still weird sometimes to say "Yes, I'm a Veteran".

Anyways, that's not really the reason for this post. It's to say Thank You to those who have served our great country. It's to say Thank You to businesses that support our service members and Veterans on Veterans Day and every other day of the Year.

Here is a list of businesses that honor those who have Honored our county with their service:

Applebees is giving away a free meal to all veterans and service members.
Need2Speed in Redding, Ca is doing a promotion for Veterans. Click HERE to see their deal.
Chili's, Golden Corral, Outback, Logans, Marie Calendars, and Home depot are doing various promotions across the country.
Steve Barnes Painting gives a 10% discount Year round. Click HERE to see their deals.

This is just a very small list that I was able to gather today. If you know of other businesses that offer deals or discounts to Veterans, please share that in the comments!


Now that is taken care of, I want to share some thoughts and ideas about Veterans that have been on my mind recently:

On Veterans Day, NO Veteran should have to work unless they want to. It's one day out of the year. Managers, small business owners, employers... Take a moment to thank any veterans that work for you. Thank them for your right to have a profitable business and the freedom to conduct that business.

On Veterans Day, Unless you are doing a promotion for Veterans or service members, either take the day off and attend a ceremony or simply close the store for one day with a sign "In observation of Veterans Day, we will not be open."

On Veterans Day, every person you see with a Veteran bumper sticker, hat, pin, or anything else indicating they served our Country, Stop what you are doing say "Thank You", and shake their hand. It takes less than ten seconds. If you have kids, make sure they say thank you as well.

On Veterans Day, realize that there are wives who don't have a husband coming home to them anymore. There are children who don't have a mom or dad anymore. There are parents who had to bury their child. There are brothers and sisters who only have a picture to hold and look at instead of being able to touch the face of a brother or sister who gave their life for our Country.

Lastly, on Veterans Day, take just one minute to say a prayer for those who haven't made it home yet. Pray for the quick and safe return of our everyday heroes who make our life a little bit easier each and every day.

As we said in the Navy, "May you have fair winds, and following seas".

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Underdogs and Misfits

I was born and raised on the west coast. In Northern California, Giants fans are prevalent without a doubt. However, Giants pride diminished over the past 15 years. I think it started with Will Clark leaving. He was the proverbial Giant in my eyes. He was a nice guy, a team player, and he also played the same position as me... First base.
But then, something bad happened... Barry Bonds showed up. Have you seen the before and after photos of him? When he played for the Pirates, he was a itty bitty thang. and after he stole the single season record and the all time HR record, he looks like one huge muscle with a tiny head on top.

Barry Bonds put such a bad taste in my mouth for not only the Giants, but baseball too. He cheated. There is no gray area here either. He took drugs that gave him an unfair advantage against those other players who stayed on the straight and narrow. Needless to say, I quit rooting for the Giants and quit watching baseball.

But then, something strange, unusual, and wonderful happened.... We have a long haired pitcher who wears a bow tie, and another pitcher who looks like Zach Galifianakis. Who would have thought that a bunch of misfits and underdogs would win the world series??? I won't lie and say I did.

BUT, somehow, they won. What was it? Teamwork? yep! Determination? yep! a team that wasn't tainted by steroids? OH YEAH!!!

Needless to say, I love baseball again, I love the Giants again. Maybe this time around, sports can gain they awesomeness by taking a good look at who the Giants are and why they won. Now the wait until the next season starts. Until then, enjoy watching football basketball, and hockey! Go Kings! GO Sharks! eh crap, go... niners and raiders? Sigh

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bullying, Self Worth, and It Gets Better

Underdog- a person who is expected to lose in a contest or conflict.
a victim of social or political injustice: The underdogs were beginning to organize their protests.
the competitor least likely to win a fight or contest
a person in adversity or in a position of inferiority

Ever felt like an underdog? Ever felt like giving up? Ever felt like the whole world is against you? ever felt like the target of someones' aggression?

My answers: Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

I've always felt like an underdog. Like a Rudy. No matter how hard I try, sometimes, I feel like a "cantgetright" that nickname by the way, was given to me while in the Navy. The Navy made me strong, but there was a time when I thought I couldn't handle it anymore. There was a time that I was five feet away from the edge of the flight deck looking over the edge thinking to myself, just a few more steps and all this pain and anguish goes away. I have felt like completely giving up and giving in before.

I've felt that no matter how hard I try to please everyone and myself, I always fall short. I've felt as if no matter how hard I try to make something work, it is destined for failure. That while the rest of the world is just smooth sailing, I'm stuck in the middle of the Perfect Storm.

I've been the target of bullies before. From the guy in high school PE who kept dunking me underwater and causing me to believe I was going to drown. To the guy who was the star football player who threw apples and oranges at me, who went out of his way to punish me for not being like him. I've been verbally bullied for having a gut, having pimples, and not wearing the "cool" clothes.

Now, I have my stepson who is the victim of bullies. last night, he told me about what has been going on in junior high. how 4 boys teamed up on him, shoved him to the ground, and shoved their crotches in his face. How another boy at school comes up to him every day from behind and chokes him till he thinks he can't breathe anymore. Is your blood boiling yet? It should be. Here's the punishment the boys got: a warning. a slap on the wrist. a "don't be bad to him anymore". GREAT.. Absofuckinglutely fabulous! Now those boys will come at him with a vengeance. Thank God i'm here to console this poor kid because I've been there before. I've endured the sadness, the feeling of helplessness, the despair. I'm here to make sure that he is protected. I'm here to make sure that the underdog prevails.

I say all this to bring to the light a few things I have witnessed recently that actually give me hope and encouragement. First off is the Self Worth Project. This project has only been on facebook for a week. It is helping people face their fears, their insecurities, their perceived shortcomings. And in facing it, they are slapping the ugly off those fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. When I first found this page, I read, and cried. I was so happy to see something like this to help people become stronger in themselves and more confident. Please, take a moment and go check it out. I promise you won't regret it.

Second is the sad reality of bullies in school. from grammar to middle to high school to college. Bullies are so prevalent today that it has become an epidemic. kids nowadays aren't being bullied for simple not fitting in. Its due to ignorance of difference. Black, White, Brown, blue eyes, red hair, physical traits, and then also on lifestyles. The harassment that people shell out because someone is attracted to the same sex, beliefs, morals, you name it! Unfortunately, it took a young man killing himself to bring this horrible reality to light. The It Gets Better Project has become the haven for people of all backgrounds, sexual preference, and ethnicities. This is the light at the end of a VERY long tunnel for those who are persecuted every single day.

and Lastly, last night, I attended a vigil that was put on by the RBHS GSA. I recorded some video of the kids and the teacher who are part of this group. If you can take a few minutes to watch the video and share it with someone who might benefit from watching it, I would appreciate it! These kids are the future of our nation. I'm proud of them for what they did and hope to help them in any way possible.

Here's a song that helped me get through much strife and difficulties when feeling like an underdog.

Bullies be gone! Kindness and love be spread to all! Underdog FTW!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reunions, Doors closing and doors opening

A few weeks ago, I had my ten year reunion. I posted on facebook that I was apprehensive about going because of the torment that a few bullies had on me in school. I was apprehensive about going because there were people there who I really REALLY had no care to see whatsoever. Ten years wasn't enough time to heal the wounds that had been created by some really horrible excuses for human beings. I wasn't ready to forgive them, I wasn't ready to see them, and I certainly wasn't ready to put up with any more crap they had to throw at me.

That was the evening before my reunion. I told my wife, mom, and aunt (all 3 women who I can confide in and get an honest response from), that I was starting to think I didn't want to go. Thankfully, the 3 of them told me to pull my head out of my ass and go. I thankfully had friends from school chime in as well and tell me they weren't going to see those people who they didn't like. they were going to see the people who they WANTED to see.

So I started thinking about it, and I came up with the mantra that I was going to be around people who wanted me to be around and who I wanted to be around. I was going to form friendships that never got the chance in high school, and I was going to forgot those ding dongs who needed to be forgotten.

The short story is that I didn't see anyone I didn't want to see. I saw those who I wanted to see, I completely forgot about those who needed to be forgotten and most importantly, started some friendships that never got the chance in high school.

My reunion was the beginning of a new stage of life but I just didn't know it yet. On Oct 1st, the Non Profit I had been working for over the past two years announced it was going out of business. Suddenly, I found myself unemployed and scared to death. But as the title of this post says, there was an open door. So, off to the world of the unknown I go. Small business owner now, I'm self employed and working my tail off to make it work. I will keep everyone updated as things progress.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I will Never Forget!

Tomorrow will be nine years since the worst attack on United States soil occurred. It is a somber day for our nation. With everything going on in our nation, we need to stop, take a pause, remember where we were, who we were with, and how much blood, sweat, tears we shed when we first heard about this. We must remember the lives that were given... no, Taken on that day and every day since then.

Whether you agree or disagree with the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, take a moment and thank a Veteran or Servicemember that is still alive. Take a moment to thank those that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Take a moment to say a prayer for those who lost someone, say a prayer for our soldiers, sailors, and airmen who are still in this battle.

As for me, I still remember it as if it were yesterday. I was returning from a Western Pacific Deployment on the USS Cleveland LPD-7. Our ship was between Hawaii and San Diego. We had Tigers (friends and family of those on the ship who boarded in Hawaii to ride with us to San Diego) on board and that day we were about to have an awards ceremony. Our Captain was known for being early to everything. at least 15-20 minutes early. As such, we had been on the flight deck since around 0715. the ceremony was to start at 0800. 0800 came and left. 0815 came and left. around 0830, our captain came on the 1MC (shipboard PA System) and told our crew that the ceremony was going to be postponed because there had been a terrorist attack on our nation in New York. He dismissed us and we all made our way to berthing areas, mess decks, anywhere that had a television. I remember watching a replay of the planes hitting and staring in disbelief.

I would lie if I said I wasn't scared shitless. My mom was on board with us. Were we going to turn around and vanish from our family for months longer than we already had? was my mom going to worry herself to death at home while her only child went off to war? would I pay the ultimate price for my country? if I did, I would never know the joy of being a father, the joy of being married, and every other great experience I hadn't had the chance to enjoy yet?

on a lighter note, later that afternoon while I was on watch, my mom came up to the bridge where I was on the Helm steering the ship and asked to talk to the Captain. I knew this was either going to be either very very bad, or just BAD. The captain said of course, what's on your mind? She simply said "My only child is right there steering this ship. I taught him how to shoot and that's why he has expert ribbons for every gun he's shot in the Navy. If he's going to kill terrorists, they should be afraid of me, not him. If he's going there, so am I". That was the one and only time I ever saw my Captain speechless. He had the wisdom to say "Ma'am, while I can't keep you from showing up overseas, I can't bring you on the ship. but you scare me more than the terrorists do right now. If you taught him how to shoot, I know he will be just fine, the terrorists on the other hand, I don't think they will be as lucky." Damn, I love my mom!!!

The ironic part of this whole situation was the night before, we had what we call "Cinema at Sea". where we watch a movie from a projector on the flight deck. Wanna guess what the movie was? Yeah, Pearl Harbor.

The events that happened on that day have shaped the man I am today. I cherish everything I have, the problems in life aren't as bad as I see them, and every morning I wake up thankful that I am still alive, I now have been fortunate to know what being married to a wonderful woman is like, and I know the joy of being a Father. My mom isn't worried about her son dying in war, she can be a grandma, and I get to come home to my family every day from work.

However, there are thousands that never got that chance. To those, I am saddened to the core by that thought. To the Families who have lost someone I pray for peace in your family. To those that have paid the ultimate price for our nation, you will be forever in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you and God Bless The United States of America!